Walked around and found it


Learning Ainu cooking from Yukiko Kaizawa

Words by Azusa Yajima
Photographs by Keiji Tsuyuguchi
Translation by Xene Inc.

Made for important ceremonial occasions in family relations and for important ceremonies

A dumpling made using proso millet and rice flour, a sito is an Ainu food handed down since ancient times and eaten at ceremonies of important ceremonial occasions for family relations and iyomante (the Ainu Bear Festival) ceremonies. Yukiko Kaizawa, the leading person involved in the weaving of attus, a textile made from tree bark, taught me how to make sito.


Photo of Yukiko Kaizawa

Dumplings eaten with kombu sauce

Konpu sito

Ingredients (makes 7)
Proso millet (mochi type) — 1 wan (Japanese soup bowl) 
Joshinko rice flour — 1 wan
Lukewarm water — as needed
Hot water — as needed
Kombu sauce
Kombu — 10 cm
Cooking oil — as needed
Sugar — 20-30 g*
Water — 20-30 g*
*adjust according to your taste


Sito instructions

  1. Wash the proso millet in running water, then soak it in lukewarm water for 7-8 minutes.
  2. Spread the proso millet out on paper towels and dry for about 10 minutes, or until there is just a little moisture left.
  3. Grind 2 into fine powder with an electric grinder, then sift it with a strainer.
  4. Put 3 and the joshinko rice flour into a bowl and mix them, then add lukewarm water a little at a time and knead until it is the consistency of an earlobe.
  5. When the dough is ready, make flat dumplings about 7 cm. in diameter and make a depression in the center of each with your finger.
  6. Boil water and place the dumplings in it, then mix them once with a spatula as if scooping them up so they do not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  7. Lower the flame. When the dumplings float, transfer them into a bowl of cold water.
  8. Wash the dumplings in running water to make them springy, and you are done.


Kombu sauce instructions

  1. Fry the kombu in the oil, then place it in the strainer.
  2. Cool 1, then put it in a plastic bag, and break it up with a pestle or similar. Use an electric grinder to grind it into fine powder.
  3. Put the water, sugar and 2 in a pot, and simmer, mixing well until the mixture becomes thick.
Photo of Konpu sito

Photo of Konpu sito

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